Michael Jacobs

Patagonian Adventures

Desolation Island

By

Harvill Secker 390pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Desolation Island begins as a classic seafaring yarn, with a mysterious Irish-American Spaniard telling the tale of a boat journey to South America’s southernmost tip. However, this is clearly not going to be a straightforward story. We soon learn that this narrator shares the same name as H G Wells’s Invisible Man, Griffin, and that his grandfather was a magician who fell in love with a beautiful widow obsessed by a sixteenth-century automaton which ends up – like the mylodon remains that provide the framework of Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia – in the Salesian Museum at Punta Arenas.

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